MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Piggybacking off the last blog. Here's the latest for my revised thesis proposal:
My thesis breaks down into two main sections and a third, smaller section which I will explore less fully. The two main sections will contrast the American media coverage of the Dalai Lama with Chinese media censorship of anything casting a positive light on the Dalai Lama. Surely these two very different modes of media representation will have different outcomes in terms of the perception each of the two cultures has of the Dalai Lama. The part of my thesis I handed in today is a piece of my section on American media coverage and perceptions. Within this section there are two case studies -- one on Kundun and one on Seven Years in Tibet. In each, I have examined whether Scorsese and Annaud have manipulated the image of the Dalai Lama in any way.
After getting some really helpful feedback from my partner in class Wednesday I thought it would be really beneficial to see what others think about my thesis:
I'm arguing that Hollywood manipulates the image of the Dalai Lama in three main ways:
1) Using the reductionist Hollywood framework
2) Humanizing him (by this I mean they deemphasize the fact that in Tibetan Buddhism he is an incarnation of the bodhisattva of compassion and considered to be the highest lama)
3) and exotifying him (and his culture and religion)
My question is, how do these three manipulations change the meaning of any resultant popularity of the Dalai Lama/Tibetan Buddhism/the Tibetan cause?
After having batted around my original thesis idea for a while I've dedided to go in a new direction entirely and I'm still sort of molding this thing into a coherent idea (and one that is focused enough for a thesis to boot). Basically, as long as my final thesis still deals with the Dalai Lama and media, I think I will be happy so give me any ideas you may have. Here's what I've got so far:
I have recently become fascinated with how America has helped to create the world's image of the Dalai Lama as well as the image portrayed to Tibetans who are far from their homeland due to persecution by the Chinese. Many have fled to India and others to Europe and America. I wonder if perhaps even the Dalai Lama's own self image has changed due to the multitudes of documentaries, Hollywood films, and books that have him as the star. I feel that the media force of Hollywood must have influence over perceptions of the Dalai Lama but I am still learning about the films, books, magazines and other media sources that may have done this.